It seems like a endless problem – naturists seems mainly to be male, 45+. I would love if there were more young people.

I myself is of the male gender just turned 41. I am probably what you would call in between age, I am not one of those you would call “a young naturist”, but I am not one of the old naturists either. I have a lovely wife and a wonderful son, and I love being naked whenever it feels comfortable.

The problem

I believe that the great majority of middle- older men in the naturist community. It provides a “bad” spiral where there certainly is some of the young and some women who are scared off. Not that there is anything to be scared of. There are hardly more evil and perverse men among nudists than among other communities.

There are probably many reasons for why there are much more men in naturist societies than a woman – but this is not what I want to discuss in this post. What I want to discuss is why so few young people is a naturist, and why they are scared off Body issues, activities and being part of a group that you feel like you can associate with might be some of the reasons why young people keep away from naturist environments.

I think that many young people prefer to be among other young people, therefore groups like Young Naturist America and DUN in Denmark is good examples of groups for young people. I think that it is a really good thing that they are present. This helps the acceptance of naturism among young people. Unfortunately, there are not that many of these communities as far as I know of and what if you really just want to be among diversities – among young, children, woman, men, disabled. Another thing is that many naturist resorts, naturist camping, and naturist hotels don’t have much for the young.

Maybe we should take a look at what young people want if they want to be a part of some kind of society. Here are my thoughts – they might be totally wrong, but here goes – 4 reasons!

Party (reason 1)

I think that many likes to party in their youth. Of course, you can’t have parties all night, every night on a naturist resort which is for all ages. What I think could be done is that some of the “parties” on the naturist resorts (and other places) might be a bit boring for many of the young people. The music might not be what they consider party music, the environment and so on might not be that exciting for young people. Maybe there could be a youth night and there could be a lounge where young people would like to hang out. A party in my terminology does not need to be a wild party with loud music. It might as well be the atmosphere that is different  – eg. could be a place where it is possible to hang out with other young, maybe play some table football. There are many ways to party- maybe it is time to ask what kind of party the young would prefer.

Sexuality (reason 2)

When you are young sex has a large place in your mind, you want to explore and not something is hidden away. Some might say that sex never stop being a big part of one’s life, even though it may be taboo to talk about it. The difference is that as a young, you are inexperienced and has a huge urge for adventure and plenty of courage to live life to the fullest. It, therefore, can be difficult for young people if it is something that gets stored away. In many naturist contexts, sex is something that is put some distance too. The reason is of course that there is no desire to breathe more life into the very widespread misconception about naturism/nudism is about sex. Perhaps it is the time that we reduce the distance to the sex topic.

I’m not sure how we can break down barriers – because I certainly don’t want naturist places to become swinger clubs or the like. I do not wish that naturist resorts/places becomes like  Cap d’Agdes reputation. What I wish is just that we get a little more relaxed about the fact that we all are sexual people. I think that it is ok that people flirt and have a good time without escalating it to public sex. Sex is still something which should happen in respect for other people meaning that sex is something which should be practiced in the hotel room/at home etc.

Activities, fun and adventure (reason 3)

There needs to be fun, activities and adventure. I bet that what young people find fun and adventure is not the same as the older naturist calls adventure and fun. The same can be said about activities – I could imagine that bodypainting, canoeing, yoga, meditation, tantra yoga, cooking courses, horse riding, diving, beach volley matches and many many other things would be more interesting than many of things you see at most naturist resorts. Petanque, arrow shooting and hiking seems to be some of the most common activities at naturist resorts at the moment. If you want to attract more than just the same old audience then you need to do something differently. Personally, I would love if there were more much more diversity in the activities. More activities like “The World Naked Bike Ride” – this is an activity for everybody including young people.

Body Image (reason 4)

I am convinced that we all look like ourselves with others. We’d love to be a part of a group and not stand out in the group. When you are young the urge to be a part of and accepted in a group is very large. This could actually be very good for a naturist society, I think most naturists are very accepting of other people without judging you on gender, age or size.

There is one problem, though – many young people have a big body image issue. The reason might be that they compare them self to photoshopped people in magazines, commercials and to celebrities. People which is unreachable in their perfection. This bad body acceptance makes it really hard to take the steps that it takes to be nude with other people. Thoughts like, “But the others are much more beautiful”, “All others are perfect”, “What if they see that I a have large hips”, “What if they see that I haven’t got perfect muscles” and I could write much more. This is actually a dilemma because this would also help them get out of their bad body image. This problem isn’t that big among people who are a bit older – because we get older we learn to accept that one’s body is not perfect, and therefore more accepting about our own body.

Body Image has a great impact on many people. I think diversity in clothes free environment can help acceptance of your own body because you will learn that we all have our great assets and flaws. But how do we make young people understand that naturist environments are for everybody? I think it would help if more people were invited to visit a naturist resort, naturist organization etc.

This was my thoughts about why I think young people are not that found about naturism. The question is – can we do something about it?
I believe we can!

Copyright photo: searagen / 123RF Stock Photo

What do you think? – Write your opinion in the comment!

Leave a Reply

  1. Richard Foley

    Hi Peter,

    Good article on 4 reasons why young people are not naturists. Excellent material. I’d like to suggest we connect, and that you take a look at The Nook social media network. It’s an alternative to Faceache and the rest and connects well with other networks. Maybe give it a shot?

    Cheers.

    1. Peter Terp Listing Owner

      Hi

      I might actually do that – my time is very short at the moment. BUT I think it sounds like a really good idea to try out:

      Cheers

  2. Ted Bun

    Well thought through article Peter but I think you missed reason 5.

    Peer Group pressure, the need for young people to join the uniform revolution that is always pressing against established norms. A code of dress and behaviour that they sign up to. Currently it is sexting, drugs and trousers that show your bum .Gangstas, porn stars and media celebs.

    This a rite of passage … until it is past they cannot move onto adult pleasures and the way the world is now the young seem to be stuck in the youth culture for much longer than earlier generations.

    The naked bike ride and other nude or clothing optional events that combine social nudity with something that engages younger people in itself be it protest or fun.

  3. Steve YNA NY

    Hi Peter,
    I think you did a great job . I am a middle age leader of Young Naturists Ametica – we organize events like you are talking about and I write sex positive blogs for the YNA web site. I also teach sex positive seminars at naturist events. We need to organize way more activities for young people exactly as you describe and when we do they are successful – it means older naturists like ourselves need to be leaders and mentors and help younger people find a way into naturism doing the kind of things you describe. Nice job – we would be more than happy to organize a visit of young people from your area to our farm in America from where we can do many naturist things!

  4. Michele

    Hello Peter,
    It’s an great article and it pocked to my heart. I live in American and many young people in USA seems not to be a nudist. But many nudists exist in European . I think that there may be culture difference. I have a friend who is nudist but actually I did not become a nudist at last ahthough I am affected by him very much. That’s a pity. However, I still admire nudist culture.

    1. Peter Terp Listing Owner

      I think that many people in Europe is afraid of nudity as well. The problem might not be as big as in the US.

      Still not many prefer the clothes free living in Europe as well

      Cheers

  5. David

    I remember my early exposures to social nudism as a kid. I walked into a friends home after getting off the school bus with him to spend a spring weekend. His mom was in the kitchen wearing only a Bib Apron. I was not expecting to see her bare bottom in full view. When she turned to great me she noted my surprise and said “didn’t you know?” My friend Bruce said, “I didn’t tell him Mom because when I do, no one ever comes to visit”. She explained that they were nudist and if I felt uncomfortible, she’d take me home. But I was free to stay as long as I liked.” I kept my clothes on that evening until I was ready for bed. No one dressed in the morning and I was Happily Naked ever after.

  6. IamNudebyNature

    I think the main reason is the media. Most young people are wired in and the media has taken ownership over our bodies. They tell us what we should look like and smell like and if we do not conform to these them nobody will like us. The naked body has become commodified and packaged for consumption. They want to sell this back to us, for a price, online and in print. To that end, they want to keep us from exposing our bodies in public as that would destroy the illusion that all women have air-brushed bodies in predetermined proportions, are hairless and do not smell and that men all have large packages and are hard bodied.

    This affects us all, but the women and the young are most vulnerable. Older people have stopped believing this — or never did. As time progresses we care less about conformity and are content to believe that it is what it is.

  7. bruce kendall

    Excellent thoughts. Keep up the good work on promoting naturism.
    Being nude is as natural as breathing…

    1. Peter Terp Listing Owner

      Thanks for your comment – I will keep writing 🙂

  8. Tim Chizmar

    Nice article, I’m 33 and have been a nudist since I was in college. I belong to a lot of young nudist groups such as SCNA, Vita Nuda, etc.. lots of clubs, resorts, nude beach groups, etc plus Im a Director/Producer for the AANR approved ClothesFree.com website, I am trying to be a positive supporter of the nude world. Im even the writer/Director of NAKED ALIEN MASSACRE a nudist horror film being shot in May. i see the young folks “getting” that nude isn’t lewd. Future is Bright.

    1. Peter Terp Listing Owner

      I am really glad to hear that you think the future is bright regarding young clothes free enjoyers.

      If you should be interested – a guest post on my blog about the subject could be interesting.

      Cheers

  9. Ian

    One reason you forgot was that we, as a nudist community, online treat people under the age of 18 as an alien species.
    At a time when it would be useful for children to see all the many variations in size and shape of adults, but when they haven’t become so body conscious that they go shy, we treat them like “children”: ‘you’re too young to come in this website’, ‘you’ve got to be 18 to join’, and then they get to 18 and have found other hobbies and activities to do and we complain we’re not attracting young people.
    The vast majority of under 18’s you see at camps and beaches are there as long term nudists having been raised as such by parents or guardians,
    Don’t get me wrong, I can see how site managers and club owners don’t want to be accused of anything, and have to be wary of seeming anything other than nudists, but we have a whole society out there growing up thinking that, in the same way as we don’t want them indulging in sex until they’re adults, we are an adults only activity.

  10. Peter Terp Listing Owner

    I would like to say thanks for all the comments – it is really wonderful to see that many people has cared about this post.

    /Peter

  11. Tony Young

    I wrote a chapter on activities for youth and young adult books in my book, “American Nudist, the Lost Journal.” Check it out some time.
    You’re right about all that, but there’s also the school of thought saying, ”
    Who cares? That’s not the target market anyway.”

    Though I don’t agree with it, from a business point of view, naturism has lasted a long time with the majority being middle aged to older men. Most naturists tell me all the time, why rock the boat? Why do you care if there are young people or not?”

    I care because the best experiences I’ve ever had in a naturist setting is when I hang with people my own age, and now that I’m in my 40s, I see how much fun the young people have, few their numbers may be. But when naturism is dedicated to the young, it enlivens the spirits of everyone.

  12. leeroy

    Great work on this wedsite Peter ! I believe the problem might be that nudists are behind locked gates with no advertising in the poplular media and a lot of forums where people always talk about it, like they would belonging to a tennis club ! but not to their family and friends despite it being a hobby !

  13. K Hansen

    Peter: These are interesting thoughts – all of them. I agree, at least in part, with of each of them but take issue with some of them. By way of introduction, I’m a lifelong naturist and one of the older folks. I’ve seen a lot of different aspects of naturism, nudism and just plain old nakedness in various places across North America and several European countries . Not all of these were great experiences. Since there are no actual naturist venues located near my home I have long been a “free-range” naturist, something which our abundance of forested land and secluded beaches allows.

    I think that the four problems you have listed are certainly valid but, as others have already pointed out, there are other issues as well. But I’ll comment on your four first.

    Party – you say “a party in my terminology does not need to be a wild party with loud music” and I concur with that. Others would not. For many people a party must be loud, frenetic, highly sexualized and fueled by booze or drugs. This seems to be especially true among younger people for whom, as Ted Bun has rightly noted, it seems to be a rite of passage. Drugs, sex & rock n’ roll might be cool at Cap d’Agde but it won’t wash at most mainline naturist locations.

    Sexuality – good point! There has to be an envelope of some sort defining that which is permissible and that which is not. Oddly, we already have these same rules within clothen society – no sex in public and all that. However, some “naturist” venues seem to have an almost pathological fear of common displays of affection. Merely walking along holding hands or sharing an affectionate kiss can draw the evil eye of disapproval or banishment at many official naturist venues. This seems to be particularly true within the USA where “nudity permissible” venues seem to be divided between anything-goes-swingers-resorts and monasteries-for-naked-people. There has to be a better option. Somehow we have to educate people to understand that nudity and sexual activity are not a yoked pair. (See Bruce Kendall’s comments with which I agree entirely.) This is a difficult concept because mainstream clothen society tells us the opposite. That society tells us that nudity and sex are on the market, both as advertising gimmicks and as commodities, then tells us how evil it is. Ghastly hypocrisy!

    Activities, Fun & Adventure – also a very good point. It is as equally valid for the older folks as it is for the younger ones and the really good naturist venues often have the sorts of things you suggest. Others, not so much. All these things cost money and often resorts are operated barely at the break-even line. The World Naked Bike Ride is a great opportunity to recruit people into social nudity but it isn’t the sort of thing that would work well within a naturist environment. For one thing, holding it behind closed doors defeats its purpose. Richard Foley’s Naked European Walking Tour is another wonderful opportunity for recruitment. I wonder that it doesn’t get more participants. Probably it is a matter of cost – more about that later.

    Body image – As you rightly point out “body Image has a great impact on many people.” This is perhaps more important to the young than to the old, and in more ways than we may wish to acknowledge. The young (you may remember from your own youth) are immortal and will always be – or hope to be – young and beautiful. We should be so lucky but, barring application of the James Dean model, the truth is otherwise. Many young people have trouble coming to grips with their own body image. Coming to grips with the effects of time on others is more difficult still. For many among the young age and its effects are obscenities. They don’t wish to be confronted with fleshly evidence of what the future may hold for them – declining fitness, increasing fatness, the inexorable effects of gravity, etcetera. Over time they will come to grips with these issues, but not right now, thank you very much.

    So, those are my preliminary comments on your four main points. Your respondents also had some points of interest.

    Ian pointed out “we, as a nudist community online treat people under the age of 18 as an alien species.” This is definitely our bad, even though, as Ian points out, there are a few good reasons for this, mostly the fear of running afoul of the law. The online world is fraught with dangers for all and it is difficult to know who is genuine, who is a faker and who is a predator. When I was a child there were all sorts of real opportunities for boys and girls (separately) to get naked within sanctioned venues. Skinnydipping (I hate that term) was the done thing for Boys Scouts, Girl Guides and at the YM-YWCA – but no more. We used to go off on fishing trips and, if no fish showed up, we went swimming without the benefit of clothing. Quite simply no one thought anything was off about it – it was no big deal. Now the youth leaders would likely get fired for allowing the former and the participants would end up as registered sex offenders for doing the latter. It is a weird old world these days.

    But what are we doing to integrate these aliens into our earthly society? There are problems that need to be overcome, even for those beyond the magic age of 18, matters of inclusiveness, cost and access. Inclusiveness calls for some self-education on the part of older naturists and the operators of naturist venues. They need to stop treating younger people like a race apart – separate and not equal. This will be hard for a societal segment that has very strong traditions of wanton discrimination. Naturist clubs and venues have for the most part always discriminated against unaccompanied men. Talk about being treated like an alien species, for most unaccompanied men going to a naturist venue involves being treated like the bad guys in one of those gawd-awful 1950s/60s sci-fi ‘”B” movies – “the aliens are only here for our women!” Codswallop! Until naturists start treating their own age group on equal terms they are not likely to extend the warm hand of welcome to a new generation. Quite succinctly, naturists don’t seem to trust each other very much. Acceptance is a hard won prize.

    Cost is an important factor and let us be crystal clear on this matter, the reason that naturist venue operators want more young people is because they need to maintain a healthy cash flow. They are looking for profit, or at least to break even. Thus, operators are unlikely to extend any real discounts to attract young people. Oh sure, some places offer a free day or a short term discount but beyond that they want the cash in hand.

    Access is another factor, one intimately related to cost. Many venues are located distant from population centres and public transportation is either poor or non-existent. How are the sometimes car-less, often jobless youth to get there? And if they do get there, how welcome will they be with no cash on hand. The answer to this problem is the only easy one of the bunch – provide more public parks and public beaches that are naturist-friendly. This should be easy to do but even such few venues as now exist are under constant assault, on one hand by the bad behaviour of certain groups, and on the other by ravening moralists and opportunistic politicians.

    Of course, this isn’t a compendium of all answers to our problems, just a bit of commentary for discussion.

  14. Denny

    I think “Ian”, whose comment is a few above this one, really hit the nail on the head. Young people in general think of being a “nudist” or naturism as something for “adults” or older people. I know when I was a kid and into my teens I always thought of nudism as for older people. It also seemed alien to me. I didn’t know what kinds of people did that. It certainly wasn’t anyone I knew. And the funny part about that is that I was a hippie kid in a hippie family starting at age 12. And many hippies we knew went naked in certain places. I remember seeing people completely naked at rock concerts and it seemed completely normal to me. But that’s bcuz I knew they were hippies and for hippies it was just natural. But I never thought of a hippie as a nudist. At that age I didn’t even know the term “naturist”. To me a nudist was one of the straight people that liked to go naked all the time. And that seemed weird to me. Why would they be cool with going naked if they weren’t hippies? But to get back on my original point, hippie kid or not I still would have thought of nudists as being adults. Anything I ever saw relating to nudists only pertained to adults. If you saw a joke cartoon about nudists you never saw any kids running around. Or the few times there was a nudist colony in a movie there certainly wasn’t anyone under 25. Nudists are generally portrayed as being adults. Just like I did, young people see that and that’s what sticks in their minds. Oh, that’s not for me. That’s for “old people”. The only young people who are going to get a different perspective are the ones whose parents are naturists. And I know for a fact that those kids are afraid to be open about their “private” lifestyle for fear of being thought of as weird by other kids. When I say kids I mean any young people under 18. Teens aren’t kids of course, I was just generalizing. What it comes down to is it’s going to take a lot of educating and erasing that stereotype and stigma that young people have about naturism. What makes it really tough is the ridiculous morals of so many people nowadays regarding child nudity. Every time a minor is even in their underwear you’ve got some overly moralistic idiot screaming Child Pornography. With that kind of stupidity running rampant in our society it’s no wonder kids are going to think there’s something wrong with being naked. It’s ridiculous the way too many people think nowadays. I was watching an old episode of Father Knows Best from the mid 50’s which is generally thought of as a very conservative era. The mother on the very popular series was washing the youngest daughter in a large round wash tub because she had gotten some mud on herself and her new dress. I guess she didn’t put her in the bathtub because she just wanted to do a quickie wash job and it was easier to wash her standing right there in front of her. The daughter who was about 9 or 10 years old was in her white cotton panties underwear. There were long shots of her washing her while the mother carried on a conversation with her husband. Obviously no one thought anything of it in the slightest way or that scene would certainly have never been included in the most popular TV show in it’s day. Father Knows Best was like The Cosby Show of the 50’s. Can you imagine a scene like that in a popular family show nowadays?? You’d hear people screaming Child Pornography all across the country. So the reality is we as a society are much more conservative now than we were even in the 50’s. People were obviously a lot more relaxed about child nudity 60 years ago! With that kind of general attitude prevailing is it any wonder that kids would think there must be something wrong with being naked? Even the laws have changed so drastically regarding child pornography that there are literally thousands and thousands of households across the nation whose family scrapbooks contain what is now deemed as child pornography. Anyone under the age of 18 who is wearing underwear or a swimsuit with their legs opened a little too wide is considered to be in a pose that could cause the viewer to have “lascivious” thoughts. And that is what they now consider to be child pornography. So if you’ve got any photos of your 3 year old daughter playing on the floor with her legs open and it’s taken close enough where she’s basically the focal object of the picture you’re guilty of possessing child pornography. An innocent somersault on the lawn that ended with legs open and underwear showing? If there’s any chance it could get a pervert turned on it’s child pornography. Yeah, that’s right…it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s complete insanity to deem something illegal just because someone might be “sexually aroused” by it. People freaked out when it was learned that real CP was being exchanged on the internet. That gave politicians a new subject to be enraged about and guarantee they would put an end to for public safety. But as usual they went completely overboard and now the average family scrapbook contains child pornography. It’s gonna take a lot of convincing in this day and age to make a kid feel like it’s OK to run around naked. We got a long road ahead of us.

  15. jochanaan

    Things may be changing. There’s a lot of activism online, including body acceptance, and a lot of good information about naturism and nudity itself. And young people hunger for something real, and as we know, it doesn’t get more real than naked!

  16. Beth

    When I turned 18 I was surprised to find that many clubs didn’t allow people under 21 to attend without parents permission. So, I can go to war and fight for our country, but I’m not old enough to walk around with my boobs out. If I am old enough to vote and to join the military I certainly ought to be able to decide if I want to walk around naked! Just sayin’…

    If you look at how nudist clubs market themselves (the few that even bother) then you can clearly see that they aren’t marketing themselves to younger crowds. On a recent trip I checked into a hotel while wearing an AANR t-shirt. The lady at the hotel desk, less than 30 years old, asked me about it. We talked briefly about nudism and nude beaches and I showed her some pictures on my phone. I then pointed out that there was a nudist club less than 30 minutes away from where the hotel was. She said she had grown up in the area and had no idea. Maybe if the clubs would quit hiding like they have something to be ashamed of and do some basic marketing more young people would show up. As the saying goes, build it and they will come, but you have to let them know you’ve built it.

  17. Ivan Akirov

    There’s a lot of truthfully comments above and I think I have very little to add… here are some of my thoughts on this.
    First of all, I grew up in Latin America, where people is so much relaxed on the way they treat themselves, they hug, they kiss, they constantly make double sense jokes, they flirt with friends, and love to stare and comment and compliment others bodies, everything that in the US would be deemed sexual harassment… and young people is no different that that, clothed or not. So in first place trying to impose the US uptight naturism ways all across the globe would be insane and inadequate for a global nudity acceptance. I think on the Germans, that was my first “big” contact with what we are calling naturism. I don’t think they call themselves naturists in most cases, they are just people that gather around a lake or pond in summer and swim naked because that is what they’ve been doing like forever, or lie in a city park sunbathing during lunch break, being women, men, kids, teens… reading, listening to music, making a picnic, birdwatching, playing freesbee… That’s the goal I think. Stop calling yourselves naturists, nudists, whatever, be just people that happen to like to be naked, alone or gathered at home or at the club or the river bank for whatever reasons each of you may have.
    Clubs and organizations certainly must attract young people by offering what they enjoy, music fests, be it dance or metal; exciting activities like trees canopying, sports (here, if there’s no chance for soccer, there’s life at all…), a skate park, a pool without rules like no drinking around or not horse playing (I’ve seen those), and the occasional public events, you named WNBR, I recall body painting day, and public plays like those by the O.C.T.P.F.A.S. that can bring the enough excitement and Adrenalin rush for them to want to join.
    But one important point to get those that may be struggling with their own body issues is to allow activities like this to be clothing optional for those genuinely concerned about themselves and the acceptance they may have, so they can progressively get comfy enough to join the full nude excitement, entertainment and life.

  18. Håkan Pearson

    Ett argument är att man är i en känslig ålder speciellt i tonårsåldern. Det tycker jag är ett konstigt argument. För det är fler ungdomar tex från Danmark,Frankrike, USA mm. Som är på nakenbad än Svenska ungdomar. Jag tror inte det bara handlar om att svenska ungdomar är blyga. Ofta är nakenbaden svåra att hitta. Och jag tror man inte bara vill sola och bada, utan även aktivera sig. Detta kan inte alla badplatser erbjuda. Kanske fler fribad vore en lösning för att få med alla åldersgrupper.

  19. Don K.

    Good article…but it’s disappointing that there was only one female reply (she has good points). Another reason I believe is that especially young women do not believe that they will be safe in a nudist/naturist environment. Again, it’s a question of marketing and education. Naturist/nudist organizations such as TNS and AANR should do a better job of target-marketing the idea of nude recreation to young people beginning in adolescence. These organizations rake in a great deal of money from ‘members’ with little return to the nude recreation industry related to marketing and education. These organizations should also be solidly for FAMILY-FRIENDLY naturism/nudism. The TNS and AANR should NOT associate with any organization that is not for family-friendly nude recreation!

  20. jochanaan

    The churches have been having this conversation for quite awhile too. My take, remembering my own experiences in churches (I came to nudism as an adultl, is that we can counteract peer and media pressure — but we have to give them something real in return.

    Young people hunger for reality as much now as in the Sixties when I was growing up, but they are easily seduced to think that online socializing or gaming or what media shows are reality. My church youth group did actual mission work and music. We traveled and spent a week or so every summer on First Peoples reservations. We did real stuff.

    Give young folks reality, and they will be the most committed naturists of all!